‘Cubist’ Drawing in Pen and Watercolour

My passion for the Cubist artists has inspired me to create theme-based workshops many times over the years.

Yesterday, I had a full studio of keen, and courageous, participants. Musical instruments were our subject and pen and watercolour our medium. I began the day with a discussion of Cubism, illustrated with examples from my library. We looked for common elements in Cubists paintings, with the intention of incorporating them into our work.

In the morning, I asked the group to select areas of the still-life and to re-organize them in a cubist manner. This was done in their sketchbooks and allowed them to ease into the process. We then chose a few studies and drew them on watercolour paper in pencil. Colour was added and then pen and ink.

I hope it looks like fun. Everyone enjoyed making their studies almost as much as I enjoyed watching them materialize.  After lunch, we discussed the creation of a composition on a quarter sheet of cold-pressed watercolour paper. I suggested dividing the sheet into no more than fifteen rectangular blocks. Musical instruments, or parts thereof, were inserted into some of the blocks and others were used for things like fabric, patterns or script.

I’d done a pen and ink drawing in my 5 x 7″ sketchbook the day before (below) but I didn’t show it to the group until mid-afternoon. They rose to the challenge and the step by step approach helped them create some very intriguing compositions. Once the compositions were laid in with pencil, watercolour was employed and then the pen was used to add detail, deepen shadows and, generally, contribute in any way that seemed appropriate.

I played Parisian ‘chansons’ all day from an on-line radio station and that was accompanied by the sound of graphite on paper and not much else. The level of concentration was high and everyone worked hard. Another hour would have helped but the time came to look at the work together. Not all of the pieces were finished. Some will finish them at home and email me the images for feedback.

The day went by too quickly. It was nice to meet a few new folks and great to see the Dundas/Hamilton contingent, former students from the Dundas Valley of School of Art. Have a look at their ‘Cubist’ works below.

'Cubist' Drawing Critique

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4 Responses to “‘Cubist’ Drawing in Pen and Watercolour”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Vibrant, beautiful work! Your students obviously took your lesson to heart. They are all so different and all show the hand of the individual artists. A joy to see.

  2. Barry Coombs Says:

    Thanks. I hope they see your positive and supportive comment. If you Saturday Cubists are reading this, click on Linda’s name and visit her site.

  3. Art class in Toronto | ButterflyHands Says:

    […] this sketch. So thanks Barry and I would like to attend the ‘critique’ as well… Here is Barry’s […]

  4. yousra Says:

    great work………i loved it very much, in fact i want to get deeper in the art of cubism in order to be one of it’s artists !

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